Three ways to slash your summer energy bills and save hundreds this year | Personal Finance | Finance

While winter is typically seen as the season of high energy bills, summer can also be a challenge. Hence, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce these costs.

This comes as Ofgem’s new energy price cap, set at its lowest level in three years at the beginning of this month, offers a glimmer of hope to millions across the nation grappling with the staggering cost of living. The cap, now set at £1,568 for a typical dual-fuel household, doesn’t limit your total bill but the price per unit of energy.

This implies that finding ways to conserve energy during the summer could further reduce your bills, potentially saving hundreds and providing some much-needed financial relief. Thankfully, with utility bills now half of what they were in January 2023, when families were paying an average of £4,279 per year, those who take advantage of the low price could feel significantly better off.

As gas and electricity costs plummet, many suppliers have begun offering a range of deals to attract more customers, suggesting that many could benefit from shopping around. We spoke to energy bills expert James Longley, to discover three key ways to maximise this summer’s low energy tariffs.

James Longley from the energy-switching firm Utility Bidder has highlighted the benefits of fixed rates, stating: “Fixed rates, however, help give customers peace of mind and provide lots of choice in terms of start and end dates; this is coupled with exit fees and the lost benefit of falling energy prices when you are already under contract.”

He also pointed out recent trends, saying: “Recent projections indicate that the price cap will go back up four per cent to around £1,630 in October, and a similar rate could be in place for the start of 2025. Of the major energy companies offering fixed rate deals at this current time, all offer fixed deals to existing customers, with a large majority offering incentives to new customers as well.”

In light of these insights, many consumers might be considering securing the lower summer rates by locking into a fixed deal for the next 12 months. Companies like Octopus Energy are currently providing 12-month contracts at the reduced rates without exit fees, while others such as Ecotricity are offering rates up to nine per cent below the April cap, albeit requiring a smart meter.

For those looking to get the cheapest rates, it’s also advisable to accumulate credit or maintain low bills during the milder weather and longer days. Strategies to reduce power consumption can lead to significant savings, although it’s important to note that standing charges will still contribute almost £1 a day to your bill.

Energy expert Longley advises UK households to be mindful of their energy consumption, stressing: “Whatever your next cause of action, electricity and gas users should try, where possible, to limit their usage during peak hours of the day,” while also suggesting that “Using any utilities throughout the night will prove cheaper, and you can set timers for appliances such as dishwashers.”

Encouraging smart energy habits, Longley states: “Other lifestyle changes which you will reap the benefits of include minimal tweaks such as switching your appliances off when you’re not using them, rather than leaving them on standby, or more long-term solutions include removing your gas boiler or installing solar panels.”

When it comes to cooling homes effectively in the simmering summer heat, airflow specialist James imparts his wisdom: “As temperatures continue to rise this summer, UK residents may be partial to opening all windows, however, the more windows left open, the more hot air from the outdoors that can enter your home.”

Offering a counterintuitive approach for optimal ventilation, James suggests: “Just like in winter cross-ventilation is key, and we advise opening different windows around the house in small doses which will let any breeze flow through; also, the later at night it is, the more windows you can then open ready for a cooled home to wake up in.”

“Cold fans are also a great addition. These can be utilised in rooms you are occupying, but leaving them on in unoccupied rooms should be avoided, as these appliances move air around and don’t actually cool it. It is also important to note that lowering your thermostat drastically doesn’t cool your home faster.”

“Air conditioning units won’t typically operate at a consistent pace and lowering your thermostat as low as possible will just mean it is working for longer. Instead, you should gradually lower the temperature in small bursts until you hit the sweet spot you want.”

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